As the year closes, I thought I would put together a list of those people and organizations who have made a difference for me in 2011. For a moment, let’s celebrate just a few of those who are creating inspiring works by striving toward a better, more beautiful, sustainable world.

The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, have been producing inspiring material for years, as producers of such programs as Hidden Kitchens, Lost and Found Sound, and now, The Hidden World of Girls. One particularly inspiring piece, the film “White Gloves,” by Courtney Stevens and Les Blank focuses on the Oakland Museum Women’s Board. The short piece is poignant in its focus on volunteerism, women, and the relationships that bond people together.   The Kitchen Sisters never fail to tell important stories and create moving art. (Images at the top of this post from Francesca Woodman.)

The book, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, offers a challenge to the notion that more is better and instead emphasizes the importance of locally-centered commerce, politics and culture. The author, Bill McKibben, challenges us to consider why we buy what we do and urges us to think about our role within a community at large. McKibben makes appeals for action, but he also leaves us with a sense of what is possible. I believe in community and the fact that change is possible.

We were lucky to participate in a unique fashion exhibit, YIELD: Making Fashion Without Making Waste. This exhibition highlighted a community of designers who have made a commitment to using zero waste techniques when producing garments. I am inspired to see how the concept of sustainability is growing within the fashion industry and came away from the experience surer than ever that sustainable fashion is possible on a larger scale.

We are so proud of our friends and collaborators, Heath Ceramics, who have always been dedicated to sourcing materials and manufacturing locally, paying workers fair wages, and acting as caretakers of not only the earth, but good design. Their products beautiful and hand-crafted, but they will last for lifetimes. The words heritage and heirloom find a home in this company.

I also found joy in the work of friend, Maria Moyer. She promotes sustainable and responsible practices as president of WINK Communications – and as an artist, she shines a light on the beauty of the natural world and our responsibility to that world.

Thank you to Amy DuFault and all of our friends at EcoSalon for giving us endless inspiration (along with a place to exercise our voice.)

There are great companies and individuals making a difference in this world.

4 comments on “MAKING A DIFFERENCE

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  1. j.

    Aren’t those initial photos the work of Francesca Woodman? I just watched the Independent Lens feature of her short life and work on Sunday and find it odd you would use her photos without offering credit? I’m not trying to call you out – I’ve only had four hours of sleep and I’m drinking decaf coffee to help with that, so the credit may be there and I just don’t see it.

    It was a wonderful showcase of her work, no?